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Old 2007-08-19, 10:33   Link #1
hobbes_fan
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Build an energy efficient/cost efficient Fileserver box

Ok I have too many drives laying about I was thinking of building a NAS - I'm not up too up to speed with server technology.

I'm looking at a this board CPU combo as the guts of the thing

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16813181014R

with some sort of SATA RAID controller (not too fussed whether its software or hardware raid) looking at maybe 2x750g drives or 2x1TB

Probably use a linux distro like as the o/s.

or am I better buying something like a NAS box
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822155003

This s purely for the storage of TV shows and music collection to be attached to my media centre
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Old 2007-08-19, 10:57   Link #2
grey_moon
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I personally have found home NAS boxes to be too expensive for what you get, or lacking.

I do like your choice of mobo for a NAS box, but I do think that there are some restrictions you should consider. It only has one PCI slot which means you can't upgrade it in the future. I am thinking of...

SATA card (especially the external ports can really make a difference for future proofing).
Gigabit or greater lan.
Wireless.

Since the mobo is PATA only you will have to make do with "just a bunch of disks", but you could use a software solution to cat your disks together... Personally that does worry me and I would go for single disks.

Next you have to decide on the OS you wish to run, I would always go for a OS I am used to. You mentioned Linux which is what I would choose, but then you have to decide what else do you want to do with the box. I would advise against any internet facing services on it. For something like your data I advise for safety first. Since you are going for a NAS data should be accessed via its network ports.

What ever you choose try to install as little as possible. If you must access your data over the internet consider secure services only such as SSH, or even better have the data mounted on the internet facing box (which is accessed securely).

Consider how you wish to access your NAS. Linux is pretty flexible, personally I have mine accessed by XP and Linux boxes, but I choose to use Samba only.

Finally the most important thing is your data integrity. NAS devices generally hold a lot of data and if it is implemented well, you will find your self saving everything there. So above I mentioned RAID, but with 4 disks (and you mentioned them lying about), I don't think that is a possibility. So you need to consider backups. Personally I have mine all backed up to a USB hdd once a week which I remove and store in fireproof box.

*Edit*

hee hee I did mention RAID, but I went and deleted it :P

Also I think I am going mad as I missed the whole line where you said

"with some sort of SATA RAID controller (not too fussed whether its software or hardware raid) looking at maybe 2x750g drives or 2x1TB"

Which kinda makes most of my post redundant *doh*
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Old 2007-08-19, 11:51   Link #3
hobbes_fan
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wireless isn't a major issue for me. Al though I have switched to Vista, I did spend a couple of months with Ubuntu and while not completely familar do have plenty of resources available and feel fairly comfortable with it.

Yeah I'm planning to use 2x750gig or 2x1tb (TBD) I currently have 1 tb of HDD (3 250g , 1 500gig) more like 1.25tn but close enough I was planning to sell the 3x 250 gig to fund the purchase of one of the 1tb drives. I'll keep the 500gig more than likely in a backup external HDD case.

Yeah it's been hammered into me that RAID is not a backup solution, having had to deal with what happens when RAID goes bad at work recently.
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Old 2007-08-19, 11:51   Link #4
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey_moon View Post
So above I mentioned RAID, but with 4 disks (and you mentioned them lying about), I don't think that is a possibility
With four drives you have a couple of choices for RAID. The most obvious is RAID 5, with either three data disks and a parity disk, or two data disks, a parity disk, and a spare disk.

Another alternative is RAID 0+1 (aka RAID 10) where you use RAID 1 to build two, two-disk mirrors and RAID 0 to stripe the RAID1 arrays.
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Old 2007-08-19, 12:52   Link #5
grey_moon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
With four drives you have a couple of choices for RAID. The most obvious is RAID 5, with either three data disks and a parity disk, or two data disks, a parity disk, and a spare disk.

Another alternative is RAID 0+1 (aka RAID 10) where you use RAID 1 to build two, two-disk mirrors and RAID 0 to stripe the RAID1 arrays.
I actually meant from the point of view that I thought he had spare disks lying around which he wanted to use, I didn't read his post properly

Also I was concerned about using software raid since I was on about using 4 pata drives... Bleh that was a really bad post on my part

*Edit*

Oh one really important point I missed out is that you should run a check on your drives to let u know if they are okay or not. With linux u can check with smartd and get it to mail you if there are any failed drives. I have had a server running with a disk and its hot failed before for several days, I only noticed because it was sluggish. Boy did I get a spanking for that...
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Old 2007-08-20, 00:44   Link #6
hobbes_fan
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Oh and with raid and my proposed HDD config of 2x1tb drives, I'm pretty much stuck with a choice of either RAID 0 or RAID1, am I better off going to 4x500gig config to open up the other RAID options? I'm also under the impression that the bigger drives offer better performance overall. There's a downside that the 4 drives will generate more heat and require more voltage but is there any thing else?
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Old 2007-08-20, 01:32   Link #7
grey_moon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
Oh and with raid and my proposed HDD config of 2x1tb drives, I'm pretty much stuck with a choice of either RAID 0 or RAID1, am I better off going to 4x500gig config to open up the other RAID options? I'm also under the impression that the bigger drives offer better performance overall. There's a downside that the 4 drives will generate more heat and require more voltage but is there any thing else?
RAID 0 you get best price performance, but no protection, with RAID 1 you get best protection but worst price performance. Going by newegg you can get 4 x 500GB maxtors (not that I would get them, but they are the cheapest) for $396 which you can setup as raid 5. With that you can have a 3 disk in use one stripped setup which will give u ~ 1.4TB of storage depending on the FS you decide on. I think it depends on the controller if it can handle loosing a disk and keep working without a hot spare. I only really deal in hp kit and all of theirs do.

The cheapest 1TB disk is going for $359.99, so for 2 you would have to splash out $720. That is a huge difference in price and if you want some protection you would be as you already pointed out restricted to mirroring your disks which means you would only have 1TB available. If you stripped them you would have ~2TB available, but if a disk fails you would loose all the data on both disks, so you would need to back up 2TB worth of data. Of course even if you had it raided you should still back up your data.

In terms of heat I believe the number of disks makes the most difference, but the type of disk itself adds up to the overall heat. For example does your NAS need high performance 10k sata disks? If it is never going to go above a 100mpbs connection then 5000 rpm disk should be adequate.

Energy wise the number of disks is going to add up, but this is also be dependant on use and setup of the disks. If you don't raid, the disk should not spin up until it is accessed, but if it is raided they will all spin up.
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Old 2007-08-20, 01:32   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
Oh and with raid and my proposed HDD config of 2x1tb drives, I'm pretty much stuck with a choice of either RAID 0 or RAID1, am I better off going to 4x500gig config to open up the other RAID options?
Well, it's up to you, RAID 0 (striping) is only combining your two drive without fault tolerance. So you'll got full 2TB capacity. RAID 1 (mirror) will provide your data with fault tolerance but you'll only get half of the capacity of your HDDs (1TB in this case)...

So if you want fault tolerance, go with RAID 1, if you want capacity and performance go with RAID 0.

Click here for RAID capacity calculator....
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Old 2007-08-22, 04:32   Link #9
grey_moon
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This might help you with backups. Personally I like sbackup for ubuntu backup, it does all the basic backup stuff (like windows backup) and can be setup and forgotten about. I do mine manually as I like to unplug my backup hdd and store it away.

And if you want to back stuff up but still access it, kinda like windows briefcase, but you float between windows and linux I would recommend unison as that works on both and is a file synchroniser.
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